FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 18, 2017
Roberto Clemente - originally a Brooklyn Dodger
Historic Dodgertown celebrates today, August 18, as the birthdate of Hall of Fame outfielder Roberto Clemente.
Clemente originally signed with the Brooklyn Dodger organization in February, 1954 for a bonus of $10,000. He played his first professional Spring Training at Historic Dodgertown in 1954.
At that time, Major League Baseball had a rule that if a player signed for a bonus more than $6,000, the player had to be kept on the major league club for two seasons. If the club assigned the player to one their minor league clubs, the player would be “frozen” in the minor leagues until the player was subject to selection in the winter draft. As a result, he could not be promoted to the Dodgers’ major league roster until he was available for selection in the Major League Draft in December. Clemente played for the Montreal Royals in 1954, and among his Royals teammates were 1955 World Series hero Sandy Amoros and a future Hall of Fame manager in Tom Lasorda.
The Pittsburgh Pirates had previously been aware of Clemente as an amateur player in Puerto Rico and selected Clemente from the Dodgers for his ability in the winter selection draft. He made his major league debut against the Dodgers on April 17, 1955 and he had three hits in a doubleheader. In 1958, Clemente became a member of the United States Marine Corps Reserve and served his duty through 1964.
Clemente became one of baseball’s greatest outfielders with 3,000 career hits, 12 consecutive Gold Gloves in right field and he played in 15 All-Star Games. He would be a star for the Pittsburgh Pirates for their 1960 and 1971 World Championship teams. His baseball card is displayed on the wall at the entrance of Holman Stadium for all Hall of Famers who appeared in uniform at Historic Dodgertown.
About Historic Dodgertown – Vero Beach, Florida
“A Florida Heritage Landmark”
World-famous Historic Dodgertown – Vero Beach, Florida is a multi-sport, 80-acre complex on Florida’s Treasure Coast managed by former Dodger owner Peter O’Malley in a partnership since 2012. O’Malley, whose family developed and expanded the site formerly known as “Dodgertown” for nearly 50 years, partnered with his sister Terry O’Malley Seidler and former Dodger star pitchers Chan Ho Park and Hideo Nomo.
On November 10, 2014, Historic Dodgertown was named a Florida Heritage Landmark for its unique historic significance extending beyond baseball, as the first completely integrated Spring Training site in the South. The “Baseball and Dodgertown” historical marker is located at the entrance to the conference center.
The home of Dodger Spring Trainings from 1948-2008, it was the starting place for six World Championships and 14 N.L. Pennant-winning teams. Numerous Baseball Hall of Fame players trained on these hallowed grounds, as well as 20 visits from professional teams in Asia.
The all-inclusive facility, owned by Indian River County, gives teams of all ages the unique opportunity to train, play, dine and stay together in on-site villas. Participants utilize one of 10 ½ playing fields (seven are Musco-lighted for night games), including a new cloverleaf of youth baseball/softball fields with concessions area and new multi-purpose field (110 by 130 yards) for football, soccer and lacrosse.
Other amenities include clubhouses, two full-sized weight rooms, dining room, Stadium Club lounge and a competition-size swimming pool. The home of 6,500-seat Holman Stadium, Historic Dodgertown – Vero Beach, Florida provides an all-encompassing experience for guests and is the ideal setting to build a championship team. It’s the perfect location for tournaments, camps, schools, business conferences and seminars.
Continuing its tradition since 1983, the Los Angeles Dodgers Adult Baseball Camp returned to Historic Dodgertown in November, 2014. Visit historicdodgertown.com for more information.
Ruth Ruiz, Historic Dodgertown – Vero Beach, Florida, (772) 257-8532